iPad Mini Giveaway!

iPad Mini giveaway


It is that time of year when we are all getting ready for back to school.  In order to brighten your school year, a group of teacher bloggers are hosting an incredible giveaway.  I’m excited to be part of the cohort bringing this  event right to your computer screen!  August 1 through August 9, 2014 you have the opportunity to enter to win an iPad Mini!  Whoo Hoo!  


Since each of us will be sharing technology reviews and tips, everyone who participates will be going home…or back to school 😀 … with something!


I want to share an exciting FREE app I discovered called Tiny Tap.  This would be the perfect app to install on your new iPad  😉 !  This app allows teachers and students to create, play and share interactive games created through its interface on the iPad.  There is even a built in market place where you can play games created by others.  This app was developed primarily for younger students or special needs students, however it can easily be adapted to enhance the learning of any age group.  


This app allows users to:

  1. Create interactive games
  2. Utilize photos on your camera roll or on the web
  3. Import video from your files or the web
  4. Record questions using your own voice
  5. Insert sound effects/music
  6. Insert pre-designed backgrounds, shapes, and clip art
  7. Share your interactive games on the marketplace or email them to yourself/others
  8. Encourage students to use higher levels of knowledge by creating learning games
  9. Reinforce developing skills or study for an exam

I located a brief video tutorial that provides an overview of the app on the Teq website.


Here is my first attempt at creating an interactive learning game:

One other app I am wanted to share with you is Foldify.  This is a paid app available at the iTunes Store.  It has an add on app called Foldify Zoo which would be an awesome addition to an animal or zoo unit of study.

Foldify from Pixle on Vimeo.

Foldify Zoo from Pixle on Vimeo.


Foldify in the classroom

Learning to use Foldify in my classroom.






Be sure to enter the giveaway below and to join me as I make my way through this hop learning some great tech tips from the awesome bloggers featured in this giveaway!

Please note: This giveaway is only open to teachers (classroom and homeschool) who are living in the contiguous United States. The winning entry will be verified and proof of eligibility may be required. Please see the complete terms and conditions at the bottom of the giveaway for more information.
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Burke's Special Kids


Reading in the Wild: Wild Readers Show Reading Preference

Reading in the Wild



This week concludes the Reading in the Wild Book Study organized and hosted by Catherine at the Brown Bag Teacher. 

Brown Bag Teacher

 The final chapter, Wild Readers Show Reading Preferences, was eye opening and prompted reflection.   The quote that headed this chapter came from one of my favorite books, and a genre I prefer.


Quote the Book Thief



As with all things in life, readers have preferences when it comes to self selecting reading material.  The difference is experienced readers recognize the qualities they enjoy most in books.  They know the genres and authors they prefer, and are able to explain their preferences.  As they mature and establish reading mileage, their preferences meld and become more defined. 





When Donalyn surveyed readers, a distinct difference was noted between adult readers and student readers.  Adults generally preferred realism over fantasy, selecting realistic/historical fiction, biographies and nonfiction over fantasy, science fiction, and traditional literature (mythology, legends, and fairytales).   The complete list of favorites is found at www.slideshare.net/donalynm .




I have stacks of books all over my house.  My husband jokingly tells me I should open a library.  Despite the volume and variety of books, I still have preferences in the books I choose to read. My reading preferences have evolved and changed based on my interests and needs.  I prefer nonfiction related to teaching, especially text related to the teaching of reading.  My nonfiction tastes range from professional books to books on taking care of my chickens.  Even though I enjoy the feel of a real book, I currently read most of my fiction books on my Kindle (those books take up much less space).  😉 


consider student preferences



Students, on the other hand, clearly preferred fantasy and science fiction.  They felt these texts were unique, action packed, and “let you see into someone else’s imagination.” Traditional literature, biographies and nonfiction received very few votes.  Students indicated that they preferred living and reading in current or future time periods.  They could connect with the characters and their problems.  


Positive experiences


Educators cannot let their preferences bias student independent reading choices.  Acting as models, adults can offer a positive influence into widening reading habits.  Students reveal their experiences with books when they offer insight into their preferences.  Vague generalizations are strong indicators of few positive encounters with text and can signal a student who needs guidance in self-selecting books



Listen to your students’ reading preferences, take their suggestions seriously.  This might include adjusting the books you prefer reading so that you can recommend books in the genres they prefer.  Use your conference time to monitor the genres your students are reading so that you can recommend appropriate books in other genres they will enjoy.  Donalyn devotes a section of this chapter to graphic novels, which she once considered light reading.  Read this section, it was an eye opener for me, as I once believed this too.  I know from experience that graphic novels can lead readers down the path to being a wild reader.


To close out this book study I have created a genre graph in the form of a game board that you may want to use to monitor the various genres your students are reading.  You can grab it by clicking the cover below!


cover genre graph



student copy



code sheet




One last site you may be interested in: http://padlet.com/debfrazier4/wildreaders.  This site is a collection of photos of wild readers in action, in place other than the classroom.  You can add your own wild reader photos!



Burke's Special Kids


Back to School Blogger Product Swap

Blogger Product Swap


I  am joining in Creative Playground’s Product Swap this month.  As part of this swap I was provided the opportunity to choose a product from the Teachers Pay Teachers Store of Roller English.  My choice was the 4-Letter Word Builder Cards, which includes printable letter tiles.



Featured product by Roller English. Click photo to view product at Teachers Pay Teachers.


This product is perfect for small group work and literacy centers.  There are 40 different cards that practice phonics and spelling skills.  

with our without words

You can easily differentiate the activity by choosing cards with the words or without the words printed on them. The picture cues are clear and colorful. 

printable letters


This product is designed to be used with Bananagrams, however printable letters are provided that work perfectly.  

small group or intervention


Using this product within a small group, guided reading session, it is easy to collect formative assessment data on your students. This particular student consistently had difficulty with beginning blends and silent /e/ words.  It was a breeze to provide immediate instruction and guide the student in applying phonetic skills.  

Engaged students


My students were engaged and enjoyed learning with this activity.  There were enough cards to easily complete this activity more than once and to provide students with the opportunity to work independently.  This product is appropriate for students in Kindergarten and first grade, advanced Pre-K students, and struggling second graders.  It is a must have addition to your literacy program.  

Click the blog button below to visit Roller English’s Teacher Pay Teacher Store!  Then be sure to continue checking out the other bloggers as they review products to get you ready for back to school!


Roller English  

Burke's Special Kids


Florida Teacher Blog Hop

Welcome to the Sunshine State! Enjoy yourself as you take a tour around our wonderful {and large!} state! Grab some freebies along the way, and be sure to enter to win our Bundles of Sunshine!
I have always lived in sunny Florida. I grew up in South Florida and moved to the northern panhandle of Florida 20 years ago.  I live in Marianna, but teach in Panama City.  While I have a daily commute, I have access to the best of both worlds.  
Marianna is home to farmland, lakes, and rivers.  It is a peaceful community that enjoys all the bounties of nature.  Since we are close to the Florida Alabama line, we enjoy a more seasonal climate.  Hunting and fishing abounds. 
Fresh produce is prevalent in our area.  We have local U-Pick fields that locals and school children enjoy during field trips.  In the spring our primary students pick strawberries, ride a tractor pulled wagon, visit with the chickens, and return to school with red, smiling faces.  In the summer we harvest blueberries.  The pictures above were taken at Gainer Blueberry Farm just outside of Marianna.
Panama City, Florida is home of the world’s most beautiful beaches!  Locals live and enjoy the tropical beauty of the gulf year round, but it is a favorite retreat for spring breakers, motorcycle rallies, and families looking to enjoy the pristine gulf waters and sun.  
In addition to the beaches there is entertainment from Pier Park, a major shopping center that features restaurants such as Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.  Gulf World Marine Park has live shows featuring dolphins, sea lions, reptiles, and tropical birds.  It is a favorite field trip location for students in the elementary grades.  Miracle Strip Amusement Park, highly visible from the beach, opened in 1963 with its main attraction being the Starliner wooden roller coaster.  The park closed around 2004 and was demolished leaving behind many saddened residents who had long enjoyed its legacy. Luckily it has been recently reopened. The emerald coast beaches are also home to Ripley’s Believe it or Not, helicopter rides, para-sailing, and scooter rentals.   You will never be bored when visiting our beaches! 
There are public and private beaches, along with a fishing pier, and deep sea charter boats.
This weekend, we have freebies for you to enjoy! Stop by each of our blogs for an activity or idea to use in your classroom. To grab my freebie just click the image below!
This freebie provides practice with fact and opinion using informational text.   Also, check out my Four Square Math Word Problems and Guided Reading Product. They are all on sale for this weekend only!
The Florida teachers below have two fantastic giveaways for you! You can enter once from each one of our pages. All you have to do is follow my blog! Hop around to all the blogs listed below, and be sure to follow them to get more entries. The more entries you have, the more likely you are to win! Each pack also includes a Starbucks gift card (because, well, a teacher’s gotta have a coffee!).



Be sure to read the other wonderful blogs written by Florida teachers who love their state!



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